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Don’t Let Decision-Making Steal Your Time

Don’t Let Decision-Making Steal Your Time

You know the scenario. You have to weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision. There may be uncertainties, worries, time factors and safety issues. Decisions have to be made in the office, the bedroom, the kitchen, and in the classroom, all day and every day. All these weigh on our minds as we try to decide if we should let our children play in a park, get the bus or walk, or ask the boss for some time off. If you are like, you spend far too much time in making decisions. Here are 6 practical ways to speed up the process. They also provide a fascinating insight into the whole decision-making process.

1. Try not to get analysis paralysis

You know the situation when you start to over-think the decision. You spend far too much time weighing up the ifs, buts, and what-ifs. One practical way to speed up all this is to set a deadline. You tell yourself that you have to make a decision in half-an-hour’s time, or slightly longer, if you prefer. This forces you to make a decision and you avoid unnecessary procrastination.

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2. Try to narrow down the issues

Write down what is making the decision so difficult. It may be that things like lack of motivation, peer pressure, and parental interference, are complicating the whole issue. Then spend some time thinking about your goals. Finally, think about

all the consequences of whatever decision you will make. shoesdecisions

    3. Try to build in failure

    We all make bad decisions. I can think back over my life and shudder at all the wrong turns I took and some pretty bad decisions I made. But, I was also able to learn from these. We should expect failure and learn from it. Once you know that a bad decision is a real possibility, it will help you speed up the decision-making process.

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    4. Try to recognize your cognitive bias and allow yourself to process and accept other points of view

    “Our brain accepts what the eyes see and our eye looks for whatever our brain wants.”- Daniel Gilbert

    The way we see the world subjectively is known in psychology as a cognitive bias. It affects our judgment and our decisions. This is very well explained in Daniel Gilbert’s book, Stumbling on Happiness. This type of cognitive bias can take many forms. One example is known as the confirmation bias. You may not be aware of it, but you are attracted to people who have similar views to yours. You visit websites and news sources which confirm your world view. The problem is that while this is comforting, you often ignore and dismiss views which are just as valid, but do not happen to fit in with your own tunnel vision of the world. The Internet has made this problem even worse because it is much easier to find larger quantities of people sharing our view, which in turn, reinforces it. When we have to decide on something, we are unaware of how much this confirmation bias is affecting our decision making. Being aware of our limited world view and seeking other opinions and experiences will help us to make more rational and less subjective decisions.

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    5. Try to save time by allowing the experiences of others to be a guideline as opposed to having to make your own mistakes repetitively

    Before you buy a certain make of car, you may want to ask about someone who has bought the same model. The person’s opinion and experience can save you time in coming to a decision. If you have to make a decision about which treatment option to take when you are ill, it is often helpful to seek out personal experiences from those who have had the same treatment. Researchers have shown how useful this is in helping to make a decision although they warn that it has to be balanced with factual information as well.

    6. Try to match your decision with your core values

     “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”- Mahatma Gandhi

    In the corporate world, many companies are committed to their core values such as being accountable, responsible, and ready for innovation. But how are these reflected in their business decisions? They will make sure that they are socially and environmentally responsible. On a personal level, this can help speed up your decision making, just as effectively. You are committed to honesty, punctuality, openness, and loyalty when selecting friends, partners, and business partners. Loyalty may be at the top of your list. You will have to make decisions about helping friends in need. You may have to defend them when they are criticized unfairly. You would never repeat gossip about them. Making decisions like these are easier because they match your core values. If you keep these 6 steps in mind, you will be able to spend less time on decision making and also be more relaxed about it.

    Featured photo credit: Decisions/ Martin Fisch via flickr.com

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    More by this author

    Robert Locke

    Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Matters

    The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Matters

    No matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day. Time is a finite resource, and it’s up to you to make the most of it.

    If you lose money, you might get a chance to make it back; but a wasted hour is irreplaceable.

    While we can’t add hours to our day, I can help you understand the importance of time management, and how time management helps you maximize the time you do have. This isn’t just a skill for entrepreneurs to master. Everyone could benefit from managing their time more effectively and appreciating it for the finite resource that it is.

    The Importance of Time Management

    The importance of time management comes down to how much it impacts your personal and professional life. Time management is organizing your day so that you find the best use for every moment.

    Excellent time management allows you to create a healthy balance in your workflow and home life.[1] The consequences of failed time management include missing deadlines and living with excessive stress.

    Even if you’ve failed to manage your time in the past, it’s never too late to change. Set deadlines, get organized, delegate tasks, and prioritize your to-do list to get the most value from your time.

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    Why Time Management Matters to You

    With the right time management skills and tools, you will experience a lot of benefits from good time management. Here are 8 reasons why you should start to manage time better:

    1. Do More with Less

    Knowing how to manage your time means that you’ll be able to accomplish more in shorter periods of time with less effort. Think about how much more you accomplish when you truly focus.

    Prioritizing and matching tasks to blocks of available time is one way to do more with less effort. Instead of trying to do deep work in the ten minutes between meetings, complete a minor task. This frees up larger blocks for projects that require concentration.

    If you find an extra hour of productivity in your day by using your time wisely, that gives you an additional 250 productive hours at work every year.[2]

    2. Make Work Fulfilling and Life Meaningful

    There’s nothing more frustrating than spending a day being completely busy but also entirely unproductive. A feeling of accomplishment helps you stay motivated at work. At home this translates into being able to relax and enjoy your time.

    By being conscious of how you use time, you’ll have more of it to spend on the things you love.

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    3. End Indecisiveness

    Worrying about whether you have made the right choice can be time-consuming. Naturally, big decisions take up a lot of time but the small decisions you make every day can also be huge time-wasters. Deciding what to do next on your to-do list, for example, can have a major time cost.

    Instead of staring blankly at your to-do list wondering what to tackle, create a plan or a routine.[3] This keeps you from using any of your precious minutes questioning what you should do next.

    4. Achieve Goals Faster

    Many people have big goals to feel fulfilled. But without understanding the importance of time management, these goals could sit on the shelf indefinitely.

    For example, perhaps one of your goals is to lead a healthier lifestyle but you can’t seem to carve out time for gym sessions. Chances are, the time you need already exists. You just have to find it. By making the time to attend to your health, you can make necessary and desirable changes quickly.

    5. Boost Confidence

    Time management can improve your confidence. You’re more likely to take care of yourself properly if you have the time to do so. You’ll look and feel more put together before you even set foot into your work space.

    In addition, you’ll get a regular boost from feeling a sense of accomplishment. Meeting your deadlines and exceeding expectations is a huge motivator. On the flip-side, failing to meet deadlines and struggling to keep up leads to burnout.[4]

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    6. Have More Energy to Achieve More

    Constantly feeling worn out and stressed is miserable. It also makes it hard to take on new challenges. An efficient workflow gives you the time to build new skills to improve your work.

    This doesn’t only apply to work, though. Think of how much more exciting life is when you feel energized. With a boost of energy, you’re more likely to try a new hobby or go on an adventure instead of planting yourself on the couch.

    7. Make More Time to Do the Things You Love

    After you consider the amount of time that it takes for you to sleep, work, eat, commute and attend to your personal hygiene, you have about four hours per day to devote to the things you do for fun.

    By learning to manage your time, you’ll have more opportunities to work on personal growth, spend time with family or visit friends. This quality time is priceless.

    8. Reduce Stress and Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed

    In a given day, you might be tasked with creating a mock up for a project, taking your child to practice, leading a discussion at work and buying groceries. When every task on your to-do list seems equally important, you’ll become overwhelmed.

    Good time management allows you to look at your to-do list, categorize, and prioritize everything that’s expected of you. You’ll readily see the distinctions between work-related and personal tasks. You’ll know whether you can delegate some tasks or shuffle items so that you can be more effective.

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    The result is a calmer and more-accomplished you.

    Final Thoughts

    Time isn’t an infinite resource for us. By becoming excellent at time management, everyone can make the most of the time they are given. Failing to manage your time means a lot of time wasted and you can never get it back. Succeeding opens a world of possibilities.

    By sharpening your time management skills, you can expect to be more confident and effective at work. You will feel a strong sense of purpose when you produce your best work.

    You’ll also have more time to spend with your family, take care of your own health and wellness. Overall speaking, you’ll drastically improve your life!

    Find out how you can boost your time management skills here: 10 Practical Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills Drastically

    Effective time management leaves you energized, which translates into living fully and trying exciting things in the new time you’ve found in your day.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

    Reference

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